Sunday, 29 May 2011

For the beauty of the earth

I look out from my window today, over the rooftops, the school field, the allotments and across the patchwork squares of Dorset fields into Somerset, the county where I was born.

Today is Oak Apple Day, which was created to celebrate the restoration of the British monarchy in 1660. It was the birthday of King Charles II, who famously hid in an oak tree when he was on the run from the Roundheads after the Battle of Worcester in 1651.

In his desperate bid to escape, he took cover in all sorts of places, including The Enchanted Village and, more specifically, the house where Mr Grigg and I now live. I will tell you about that one day.

But today is also Rogation Sunday, a day when countryside folk ask for a good harvest, when the clergymen bless the fields and the communities whose lives are intertwined with the land.

The day always reminds me of a childhood role in the church choir, along with my sisters and brother, in our farming village. In our purple and white robes, we would gather in the field overlooking the church and the school, up above the wartime pillbox and tank traps that would have protected us from invasion had the Germans broken through onto English soil. My brother would hold the tall cross and I would squint in the sun, a scrap of a seven-year-old with skinny legs and long, straight, fair hair.

We would sing a hymn to nature, For the Beauty of the Earth, and the rector would bless the land. A border collie puppy would strain on a lead and bark throughout the service. The sun would come out, rain clouds would gather and then, in the wind, blow away to another place.

This week, the Grigg family lost someone very dear to us. I like to think of her blowing in the wind, laughing in the breeze, telling a funny story to the trees, while all the time looking immaculate, hair just-so, painted nails and a beautiful face and a lovely smile.

For the beauty of the earth indeed.

That's about it.

Love Maddie x


  1. Thanks for this.

    I'm reading it in Corfu, but never far from Somerset and Dorset.

  2. Your post captured both the spirit of a beautiful hymn and a beautiful soul. Your dear one's memory will forever reside with you.

  3. I'm sorry to hear about your loss...

    I always love ready your posts. You have such a beautiful way of writing, and I love coming back to your blog. : )

  4. I took an old UK Country Living from the library last week, and it contained an article on Rogation Sunday. I'd otherwise not have known anything about it.
    I'm sorry you've lost someone dear to you.


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